Chiltern Fine Should Fund Passenger Improvements, says watchdog on 05/05/2011
London TravelWatch has written to the Government about the intention to fine Chiltern Railways £500,000 over breaches of its franchise.
London TravelWatch has considered whether the breaches led to any real disadvantage for passengers, and whether the penalty imposed on the train company would be in passenger’s interest.
Jo deBank, London TravelWatch said: “After looking at all the facts, we concluded that there was minimal loss to passengers caused by the technical breaches, and that penalising the company would be perverse if it led to reduced benefits or a worse service for passengers.
“We believe a better solution would be to base the penalty on actual passenger benefits, which would fulfil requirements of the Railway Act and mean that passengers do not lose out.”
London TravelWatch believes the following improvements could be considered if a penalty based on improvements rather than cash was imposed:
- Additional Oyster readers at side entrances to Wembley Stadium station and additional, improved signage
- Ticket vending machines at Sudbury Hill Harrow and Sudbury and Harrow Road stations (including Oyster top up capability)
- Oyster top up facilities at all ticket vending machines in the London area
- Replacement of waiting shelters at Sudbury Hill Harrow
- Refurbishment of entrance and subway at Sudbury & Harrow Road
- Bringing forward plans to provide step-free access at stations
- Additional services or stops at stations currently under-served, such as a Saturday service at Sudbury Hill Harrow
Jo deBank, London TravelWatch continued: “We spoke to local rail user groups who also believed that any punishment should be in the form of passenger improvements. We know that Chiltern’s London passengers want improved frequencies, better stations and improved ticket facilities, so if a punishment is necessary, then it should be in the form of improvements: passengers should not lose out.”
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